Seminar on the Salem Witchcraft Episode
Instructor: Philip N. Racine
Office: Main 107
Phone: Ext. 4531 or 582- 4342 (home)
Office Hours: MW 1:00 - 4:00 and TR 11:00 - 12:00; or by appointment
Attendance: Two absences are allowed before a student may be dropped from the course.
Papers: There will be no tests. Papers will be assigned during the course. Papers may not be late without the professor's approval prior to the day the paper is due. Students will make comments and ask questions on the reading prior to the Tuesday class meeting in emails to the professor. These emails should be at least several paragraphs long, and they are due by 1:00 PM Tuesdays. If any emails are missed, they must be made up to fulfill the requirements of passing the course. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. The emails permit immediate reaction by the professor, and the student generated questions may be used in class discussion.
Final Grade: The final grade will include the grades on the papers (30%), a grade on class participation (40%), and a grade on the questions and comments made by e-mail (30%).
Course objectives: (1) to become familiar with the witchcraft phenomenon during the 17th century with emphasis on the outbreak in Salem, Mass. (2) to become familiar with various approaches to the study of witchcraft from the perspective of several disciplines (3) to compare and contrast some of the various interpretations of the witchcraft phenomena in Salem (4) to become more aware of how historians do their work
Course’s Relationship to Department Goals
This course helps the history department reach its goals by covering the following dimensions of history widely perceived as crucial for a well-rounded view of the world:
significant intellectual movements and debates;
and socio-cultural issues of race & ethnicity,
Students will also gain some exposure to how history is practiced by
Last, students will discuss issues that provide an important perspective on the contemporary world.
Course Content: An investigation of the phenomenon of Witchcraft in 17th century New England. A careful reading of several interpretations of witchcraft in Salem and a comparison of the evidence on which each is based. Some attention to the uses to which the Salem episode has been put by several writers.
Methods of instruction: One formal lecture by the instructor; otherwise, daily class discussion of the reading with much close textual analysis.
Reminder of the Wofford Honor Code: http://www.wofford.edu/studentlife/honor_code.pdf
Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft
Chadwick Hansen, Witchcraft at Salem
Frances Hill, The Salem Witch Craft Trials Reader
Richard Godbeer, Escaping Salem: The Other Witch Hunt of 1692
Peter Charles Hoffer, The Devil’s Disciples: Makers of the Salem Witchcraft Trials
Mary Beth Norton, In The Devil’s Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692
Marion L. Starkey, The Devil in Massachusetts: A Modern Enquiry into the Salem Witch Trials
5 Introduction (Procedures and Responsibilities)
7 Lecture on Puritanism
12 Starkey to p. 128
14 Hill Reader, Part I
19 Starkey to p. 270
21 Hill Reader, Part II
26 Hansen to p. 155
4 Hansen to p. 286
6 Paper Due
11 Boyer to p. 109
13 Hill Reader, Part III
18 Boyer to p. 221
20 Hill Reader, Part IV
25 Hoffer to p. 101
27 NO CLASS
10 Hoffer to p. 204
15 Godbeer, ALL
22 Norton to p. 111
24 Norton to p. 155
29 Norton to p. 266
1 Paper Due
6 Norton to p. 313